My children perpetually have dirt under their fingernails and in the crevices of their feet. This used to make me self conscious until I read an article a few years ago about the importance of ground our bare feet to the earth.

Did you know that physically connecting your feet to the earth boasts a whole host of health benefits? It’s true, and actually I have to admit I had no idea about any of it until recently…. I just knew my kids liked to play in the dirt, typically wearing as little as possible. Grounding out feet to the earth can help us sleep better, relieve aching muscles, and much more.

But when I think about their childhood, I want to make sure I’m cultivating a culture of wonder within their everyday, and to me, what better way to do that, than to allow them the freedom to explore the earth, hindrance free. I think wonder is so necessary because it teaches children to take notice. It encourages them to watch for birds, listen for their calls, to examine tracks in the dirt, to witness the scuttle of bugs along the ground. All gifts from God, given to us to enjoy. And I think far too often these days, we are lead to forget them. Our children’s minds and hearts and pulled here and there by technology and screens, and the blessing of just “being” is lost. They crave more entertainment, more synthetic flash and color, when in fact the real technicolor bounty is waiting just outside our door.

So don’t be afraid to let them get used to a new way of being. Teach them to take note of the brilliant emerald blades shooting up from the ground, spongy mosses clinging to trees, ants and beetles marching along bark… the more they learn to appreciate all of the little miracles taking place all around them, the more they will be aware of these blessings as they get older. It is a practice in gratitude, and it starts now.

Don’t fret over the dirt, clothes can be washed. But childhood, that only lasts once. Our opportunity to provide them with a stress free beginning, the foundation of seeking simple joys in abundant blessings, we only have one chance to get it right… and it begins right outside your door.